Thursday, May 10, 2012

Profile - Marisa "Cookie" Rivas

Marisa "Cookie" Rivas
Quarterbacks have a special DNA.  When I first saw Marisa “Cookie” Rivas at team tryouts I said “there’s a quarterback.”  I could see it in the way she carries herself.  The way she holds the ball. 

Two seasons ago Coach Narlen asked Cookie, then a defensive safety, if she’d like to take a few snaps.  His starting quarterback was hurting and he wanted Marisa ready as a backup.  Coach worked with her Tuesday and Thursday.  Friday the Outlaws traveled to Jacksonville for a playoff game. 

In the fourth quarter he asked if she was ready. 

She fibbed,  Yeah!”  

In fact she had doubts.  Football is a mental game, especially for the quarterback.  It can be overwhelming, trying to know what everyone around you is going to do, learning and watching what the defense is doing.” 
After a couple seasons she looks confident
and in control as Outlaws quarterback.
Coach gave her the plays he wanted her to run and sent her to the huddle.  
Marisa says “One of the most important things for the quarterback, even if you don’t know what’s going on, when you’re inside the huddle you have to be able to convey assurance and confidence.  I remember thinking be firm, be assertive, let everyone know you know what you’re talking about.” 

Even if you don’t. 

I ran to the huddle and called the play…

…and everyone said ‘shush’.” 

She was so pumped up she was yelling and her teammates feared the other team could hear.

Cookie making a tackle with teammate Benitez.  Cookie started as
defensive safety and was good at it.  But she likes playing
 offense better.

This is Cookie’s fourth season as an Outlaw, her third as quarterback.  She started as defensive safety but she’s much more
comfortable on offense. 

That’s where she belongs.  

She grew up in a sports minded family.  Her dad played baseball and basketball, her mom volleyball and basketball.   Her sister is a great volleyball and kickball player.  Marisa ran cross country.  She played four years varsity in basketball and softball.  In golf  she carried a 1-handicap (that’s good) and qualified twice for regional and once for state.  

She is competitive.  It is in her nature.   I can do this faster, quicker, better.”  

In any athletic activity.  In everything else. 

With things as simple as grades, “I wanted to have the best grade in the class.”  She finished in the top ten percent of her high school class. 

In book buying, she lined up at Walmart to be the first to own the newest Harry Potter edition. 

In band, “I always had to have first chair.”  She played the alto sax from sixth through twelfth grade and had to compete for first chair.  In the marching band, she competed for the drum major job and held that position in her junior and senior years. 

Even in math, she was a part of  Mu Alpha Theta, a math club she describes as “a group of  nerds”  who got together after school and competed with other schools solving math problems. 

Her hobbies include reading, and not just Harry Potter.  Recently she has read “Kite Runner” and “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Her favorite author is Eric Jerome Dickey. 

She loves jazz.  She plays the alto sax and drums.  She DJs on the side.  She loves “anything involving music.” 

In school she was a part of a group called PALs (Peer Assistance and Leadership) involved with the multiple community projects and mentoring children.

She is working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sports at Texas State University in San Marcos.  She hopes to be teaching high school within the next two years.  I love school, learning, teaching.”

Cookie is employed as Inventory Coordinator for the Four Hands Home Furniture Store in southeast Austin.   Her job is to count inventory, make sure the numbers correlate and are accurate here in Austin and showrooms in Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina.  Her employer supports her playing football and has been an Outlaws sponsor the past two seasons.

Asked about the physical demands of football she says I am obsessed with the weight room. She can bench and squat 135 pounds for ten reps.  Working out is “my means of relieving stress and it’s fun for me.”  She does plyometrics, “explosive exercises” to help her as to get faster and quicker and stronger as quarterback.  She also loves running as a great stress reliever.
When shown this photo Cookie studied her form and decided she was doing it right.
Note the concentration.  She is focused even in pre-game warm-up.
Photo by team photographer MaryLou Spence

She works hard at the football, studies technique and critiques her own performance.  When team photographer MaryLou Spence showed Cookie a photo taken during pre-game warm-ups, Cookie studied her form. 

And judged herself good. 

Her nickname comes from her favorite movie,  “Men of Honor.”  In the film, Carl Brashear is a man of determination who worked himself up to be an elite Navy diver.  He had started as ship’s cook - and was nicknamed "Cookie."  A classic scene in the movie depicted him qualifying physically by hauling a 290 pound pack twelve steps - after having had one leg amputated.  The officer in charge challenged  him:  “I want my twelve, Cookie.”    Marissa was so inspired by the scene she often quoted that line and eventually inherited the nickname.

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